Fish feed on distillery waste in western New York

Signal of change / Fish feed on distillery waste in western New York

By Anna Simpson / 22 Jan 2018

Water into wine... Spirits into fish-food? 

At Lake Erie in Westfield, New York, a collaboration between TimberFish Technologies - a company producing feed from non-agricultural plant materials that grow on marginal lands - and Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing is seeing fish fed on waste from making liquor and beer. 

'Stillage', that's sugarless grain from the alcohol-making process, is placed in vats of microbes that break it down to feed worms and larvae, that are then fed to the fish. The water is also cleaned by the microbes, and used either for the fish farm or released as a non-polluting output.

The fish farm currently includes bass, perch and catfish, with plans afoot to raise premium-price fish such as salmon and arctic char. 

So what?

This is a good example of industrial symbiosis, where the waste outputs of one industry become the raw materials of another.

It shows the potential to rear healthy farmed fish on industrial waste - and could also be a showcase of the benefits of mealworm protein as fish feed. Early tests in fish feed found that substituting fishmeal with mealworm protein meal resulted in bodyweight increase by a third, as well as significant decreases in fish & shrimp mortality rates (see Forum's forthcoming report, The Feed behind our Food). 

As Sandra Vijn of WWF has said, “It will be very challenging to meet future demands for livestock and farmed fish products in sustainable ways without undergoing a huge transformation in the way we produce animal feed.”

Here's one leading example: what others can you find?


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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